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Dielectric properties modelling of cellular structures with PDMS for micro-sensor applications

Auteur(s) : A. Kachroudi, S. Basrour, L. Rufer, A. Sylvestre, F. Jomni

Journal : Smart Materials and Structures

Volume : 24

Issue : 12

Pages : 125013

Doi : 10.1088/0964-1726/24/12/125013

Electro-active polymers are emerging in the fields of actuators and micro-sensors because their good dielectric and mechanical properties makes them suitable for such applications. In this work, we focus on micro-structured (cellular) polymer materials (referred as piezoelectrets or ferroelectrets) that need prior charging to attain piezoelectric behaviour. The development of such applications requires an in-depth knowledge of the intrinsic dielectric properties of such structures and models to enable the accurate prediction of a given micro-structured material’s dielectric properties. Various polymers including polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, fluoroethylenepropylene, cyclo-olefines and poly(ethylene terephthalate) in a cellular form have been studied by researchers over the last fifteen years. However, there is still a lack of information on the intrinsic dielectric properties of the most recently used dielectric polymer (polydimethylsiloxane, PDMS) over wide frequency and temperature ranges. In this work, we shall propose an exhaustive equivalent electrical circuit model and explain how it can be used to predict the micro-structured PDMS complex permittivity versus frequency and temperature. The results obtained from the model were found to be in good agreement with experimental data for various micro-structured PDMS materials. Typically, for micro-sensor applications, the dielectric constant and dielectric losses are key factors which need to be minimized. We have developed a configuration which enables both to be strongly reduced with a reduction of 16% in the dielectric constant of a micro-structured PDMS compared with the bulk material. In addition, the phenomena responsible for dielectric losses variations with frequency and temperature are discussed and correlated with the theoretical model. Our model is thus proved to be a powerful tool for the control of the dielectric properties of micro-structured PDMS material for micro-sensor applications.